Smothering Covetousness

by Frank Jones


"Most often, the idolatry we face is our culture's smothering covetousness, in which happiness is derived from more possessions and security comes from increasing our financial stability. As believers, we sanitize this covetousness by perverting God's power and presence into a means to some other end. Since all we need to be happy is Jesus and the Christian family, Jesus and material blessings, Jesus and a growing ministry, Jesus and my neighbor's spouse, Jesus and whatever it is we do not have now, we turn following Jesus into a means to these other ends. Such a perversion makes serving Jesus the means to satisfying our idolatry. ... We must not create churches that preach the glory of Christ while at the same time cultivate lifestyles that focus on attaining the pleasures of this world. We cannot declare the sovereignty of God and at the same time promote looking to self-help strategies of our culture as the pathway to salvation. We cannot preach the power of God and wink at sin. The arrogant exaltation of human egos and the love of money are the twin pillars of the wickedness and darkness that the opponent of God is using today to bring the idols of the health and wealth gospel into the church. May God grant us the strength to be his people alone." (Hafemann, Scott J. 2 Corinthians. The NIV Application Commentary, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000, 298.)